Who’s ready for more Spring Training rumors!? Woo!
- Earlier today, Brett discussed the possibility of some free agents – specifically, Mike Moustakas, but it goes for a lot of guys – waiting until the season starts, or even until after the June amateur draft to finally sign their free agent deals, but hopefully that won’t be necessary:
Spoke with Scott Boras this morning and asked if deals were imminent for Arrieta, Moustakas, Holland or CarGo. He replied, “We’re closer to deals than we were two weeks ago. Some of those things are only a phone call away.” @MLB @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) March 7, 2018
- You’ll have to take these comments from Scott Boras with a grain of salt: 1. he’s their agent, 2. closer than two weeks ago isn’t saying much, and 3. we all know how this offseason has gone. But that’s all still pretty encouraging. It would’ve been plenty easy (even strategic) for Boras to say something like we’ll take this as long as it needs to go to get my players what they deserve, etc., etc. but he didn’t. He said things were closer than they were before and might even be just a phone call away (i.e. Hey, Brewers, if you come up just $X million, we’ll sign immediately). Fingers crossed, I guess.
- It’s just speculation, but my guess is that Jake Arrieta is most in contact with teams like the Brewers, Cardinals, Phillies, Nationals, and Twins. And to that end, Mike Berardino (TwinCities.com) suggests that Minnesota is, indeed, still looking for pitching. HOWEVER, given a club-record $118 million payroll projected for Opening Day, they’ll probably have to go the more affordable route. In fact, according to Berardino, the Twins just offered Lance Lynn a two-year, $20 million deal … which he turned down. But here’s the thing: the Twins did offer a Yu Darvish a nine-figure offer before the Cubs picked him up, so there definitely is still space in the budget for someone like Arrieta (or even Alex Cobb). I was ready to count the Twins out of the free agent starter market, but the way Berardino discusses it, that’s far from certain.
- Almost everything that was just said about the Twins probably goes for the Brewers, too. They’re a team pushing the boundaries of their payroll limitations, but still could use a starter, and probably just offered Darvish something close to (if not exceeding) $100M before he signed with the Cubs. That makes them a threat to land any of the remaining starters, but that might not be the way they go.
- As we know, the Brewers have been trying – desperately – to spin one member of their crowded outfield picture into a cost-controlled starter, but have had little luck. The outfield market (both in trade and free agency) was overrun with options this year. In any case, Keon Broxton and Domingo Santana are two of the more likely-to-be-traded options from Milwaukee’s outfield, and according to Tom Haudricourt, one is more likely than the other:
#Brewers Keon Broxton is two years older than Domingo Santana but because he can play center, has more speed, an option remaining and might not be eligible for arbitration until 2019 (possible Super 2 after this year), I'm hearing he is drawing more interest from teams.
— Tom (@Haudricourt) March 6, 2018
- As Haudricourt later clarifies, the interest in Broxton (over Santana) is not because teams think he’s the better player (he’s not), but he’s just getting the most pings (perhaps because of the better overall value proposition). I’d imagine the Brewers would prefer to move Broxton, but I also imagine the greater interest in him is teams thinking they can get him for much cheaper than Santana.
- The lack of extensions (or, rather, lack of time to drum up extension discussions because of the busy, late-moving offseason) has been a topic of frequent discussion over the past couple springs, especially for Cub fans. At some point, the Cubs are going to want to secure some cost control on at least some of these youngsters, and Spring Training is typically the time to do it. But the absence of extensions extends beyond Cubs camp. At MLB.com, Rhett Bollinger discusses Twins second baseman Brian Dozier’s frustration at the lack of negotiations (he’s heading into his final season under contract), and the quotes are pretty stark: “I’ve said I wanted to stay here since forever, but I’ve really vocalized it the last couple years,” Dozier said. “But I just don’t think it’s in their future, from what I’ve been told. We’ll see if anything else shakes out, but I’ll leave at it.”
- Dozier continued, but was even more blunt: “When you put your heart and soul, me and my wife, into an organization and you say you want to be here and see this thing out for a long time and nothing comes to fruition or is even explored, it is what it is.” Sounds like the Twins are missing a big-time opportunity to get Dozier on a reasonable, team-friendly deal, if you ask me.
- Well, this is just a bummer (but an expected one): The Rangers have agreed to sign 21-year-old Cuban center fielder Julia Pablo Martinez for $2.8 million (which is the entirety of their bonus pool for this international free agent period). The Cubs, as we know from the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes, were limited to signings of no more than $300K this period (through June), but were connected to Martinez in the past (when it was looking possible that he may delay signing until the next period opens up). Given the mass exodus of top prospects from the Minor League system (either by trade or graduation) and consecutive late (or no) first-round picks, the Cubs are going to have to land top prospects other ways. International Free Agency is somewhere they’ve had success.
- But all is well in the world, because ICHIRO:
I-CHI-RO! I-CHI-RO! I-CHI-RO!
— Mariners (@Mariners) March 7, 2018
- I’m just so very happy that Ichiro not only signed on with a team, but got a big league deal with the Mariners. If this proves to be his last season, at least he’ll go out where it all started.
- He’ll also make this BIF post look a little silly, but we’ll just do up another one:
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) April 20, 2017